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Game-induced brain injury suddenly derails NFL player's career


Anyone who has to suddenly give up something they love can be forgiven for feeling devastated. Fans of NFL football in Oklahoma may be particularly understanding of the case of Russell Allen, now a former linebacker who used to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Just four months after taking a hit during a game against the Buffalo Bills, the 27-year-old Allen has retired after five seasons because of a brain injury.

In an official announcement in late April, Allen said he suffered what he first thought was a concussion last December following a helmet-on-helmet hit with an opposing player. It turns out that he actually suffered a stroke. Although he was experiencing blurred vision and a severe headache, he finished the game. Two days later, Allen learned that the stroke was severe enough to leave a "dead spot" in his cerebellum.

Allen is taking a positive approach and offering up his experience as a way to inform and educate other athletes about the symptoms of brain injuries and concussions and why they should not be overlooked. Brain injury and concussions have been tied especially to football over the past decade, but these can happen in a wide variety of sports, including soccer, ice hockey, field hockey and, probably the most obvious of all, boxing and mixed martial arts.

Brain damage may be the first on the list of injuries that not only can derail a professional career but also put a person's health and life in jeopardy. The financial costs to a family from medical expenses and related expenses can also be enormous.

Fortunately, options are available in Oklahoma to help a victim recover from the financial damage of a brain injury. Compensation can be awarded to an injured party if negligence on the part of another individual or entity was involved in the injury.

Source: Sky Sports, "NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen forced to retire due to brain injury," April 22, 2014

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